An Abrams main battle tank, for US troops deployed in the Baltics as part of NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve, leaves Riga port, Latvia, on March 9, 2015. (Reuters photo)
The United States has approved the sale of more than 130 Abrams tanks, 20 armored recovery vehicles and other equipment worth about $1.15 billion to Saudi Arabia.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which is part of the Pentagon and facilitates foreign arms sales, informed lawmakers on Tuesday that the State Department has approved the deal.
The potential sale to Saudi Arabia still faces approval by Congress, which could block it.
The agency said the sale would contribute to US national security by improving the security of a regional ally.
It added that General Dynamics, an American aerospace and defense corporation, would be the principal contractor.
"This sale will increase the Royal Saudi Land Force’s (RSLF) interoperability with US forces and conveys US commitment to Saudi Arabia's security and armed forces modernization," the agency said on its website.
The US government is expected to authorize more than $40 billion worth of foreign military sales this year, the Pentagon has confirmed.
The potential sale by Washington comes as Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf Arab allies launched a military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in a bid to bring the country’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, back to power and undermine the Ansarullah movement.
Yemenis say most of the victims in the Saudi airstrikes are civilians.
A UN report leaked to the Guardian in January found “widespread and systematic” targeting of civilians in the Saudi-led strikes.
The report found 119 strikes which violated international humanitarian law, including attacks on health facilities, schools, wedding parties and camps for internally displaced people and refugees.